‘This Is Us’ Star Justin Hartley Says These Are the Essential Episodes to Binge Right Now

Justin Hartley has some good advice for those looking to binge-watch a few hours of This Is Us. Narrowing it down to only four episodes, Hartley revealed which installments he believes are essential for getting a feel for the show. With season 4 of This Is Us officially a wrap, here is a quick look at the episodes Hartley believes every fan should watch.

This Is Us Justin Hartley
‘This Is Us’ star Justin Hartley | Desiree Navarro/WireImage

Hartley recommends starting with this episode of ‘This Is Us’

Hartley, who plays Kevin Pearson on This Is Us, was quick to share which four episodes he believes are essential to the show. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the actor revealed that he thinks everyone should start with the very first episode of the series.

“I think you’d watch the pilot, because if you don’t watch the pilot you’re not going to know what the hell you’re watching,” Hartley shared.

The pilot offers a good introduction to all of the main characters in the show and gives the audience a sense of where things are headed. Without watching the pilot, you might find yourself scratching your head during the other episodes on Hartley’s watch list.

The opening installment of This Is Us begins with Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia) spending his 36th birthday in the hospital while his wife, Rebecca (Mandy Moore), goes into labor expecting triplets.

Fast forward three decades and the story picks up with Kevin (Hartley) and Kate (Chrissy Metz) celebrating their 36th birthday, which they share with their father, Jack. Viewers then learn that Rebecca lost one of her babies in the delivery.

Kate and Kevin’s other brother, Randall (Sterling K. Brown), was born on the same day, though his real father abandoned him at a fire station on the day he arrived.

Which episodes does Hartley feel are binge-worthy?

After watching the This Is Us pilot, Hartley said that a good jumping-off point is a series of episodes in the fourth season titled, “A Hell of a Week.” Starting with Randall, the three-part episode arc explores the lives of all three of Jack’s children, who are the focal points moving forward.

Not only does this give viewers a back story to all three of the Pearsons, but it gives fans a good idea of what’s ahead for the next two seasons. It also does not spoil too much for those who have not watched the first season.

“I think you watch the episode that is about Randall (“A Hell of a Week: Part One”, season 4, episode 11), the episode that is about Kate (“A Hell of a Week: Part Three”, season 4, episode 13) and the episode that is about Kevin (“A Hell of a Week: Part Two”, season 4, episode 12),” he explained. “That’s the three kids and you kind of get their story and their life going forward. So if you had four hours, I’d say watch those four.”

Last year, NBC announced that it renewed This Is Us for three more seasons. Season 4 of the hit series premiere back in September and wrapped up at the end of March. Fans can stream the newest season of This Is Us on Hulu.

Filming for season 5 is expected to begin sometime this summer, though that might change in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

A look at Hartley’s top picks for ‘This Is Us’

Each of the episodes that make up the “A Hell of a Week” storyline begins with the characters as toddlers. Part one starts with Randall telling Jack that he is afraid of monsters and is having trouble sleeping.

Fast forward to his college days and we learn that Randall still had troubles with nightmares. In the present day, Randall finally breaks down when starts having nightmares after his house was broken into. After talking to Kevin, Randall admits that he needs help.

In part two, a young Kevin is distressed after his mom donated a toy of his to charity. Jack informs his son that he can always find another toy to love, a lesson that makes a lasting impression on him.

After helping Sophie grieve the death of her mother, Claire, Kevin goes to Kate’s home only to find that Madison, who just broke up with her boyfriend, is house-sitting for them. The two hook up and Kate later reveals that her marriage is on the fritz.

The third part of the This Is Us episode arc explores Kate’s fractured relationship with her mother. After spending most of her life shutting her mom out, Kate and Rebecca finally develop a bond following the latter’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

Although all three of these episodes are in season 4 of This Is Us, they offer a great intro to the Big Three and are a good way to get into the show.